Is TikTok trying to disrupt the music industry?
The social media platform's recent launch of its independent distribution platform SoundOn in Australia, coupled with its decision to limit access to major label music in the market, suggests a potential power play. SoundOn allows artists to upload their music directly to TikTok and RESSO, while also distributing artists' music to platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Instagram. What's more, SoundOn pays out 100% royalties to music creators in the first year and 90% after that, along with promotional tools and support.
TikTok's decision to limit access to major label music in Australia is likely part of a test that will be used in future licensing negotiations with the majors. It remains to be seen whether this move will significantly impact user engagement on the platform. Regardless, the launch of SoundOn in Australia, with new 'signings to the local roster', offers another opportunity for artists to get their music heard by global audiences.
TikTok's strategy may be a bold one, but it is not a new one. Platforms like SoundCloud have long offered independent artists a chance to gain exposure and success. What TikTok brings to the table is its massive and rapidly growing audience, along with its vast and sophisticated algorithmic capabilities.
If TikTok can disrupt the music industry, it will be because it has found a way to offer a new and compelling value proposition to both artists and users.